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Category: Equipment

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The Army's new Bushmaster vehicles have successfully passed the first stage of the new test regime agreed by Government last year. As a result of the positive trial, the Bendigo facility is now preparing for the production and delivery of the vehicles that will be used in the next stage of the reliability testing. 

A further trial of a small number of vehicles will be carried out next year. This will determine whether ADI can continue to full-scale production under the revised contract. Subject to the outcome of the trial of initial production vehicles, Bushmaster will be introduced into Service from 2005, for use by the Army's 7th Brigade in Brisbane and the RAAF's Airfield Defence Guards.

The vehicles are designed to transport troops to the battlefield, providing protection for troops against land mines, mortars and small arms ammunition. Each vehicle will be fitted with a weapon station capable of mounting the Army's family of light machine guns. 

The Bushmaster can maintain speeds in excess of 90 km/h on Australian roads with a range of up to 800km carrying nine infantry soldiers with sufficient supplies of food, water and ammunition to last three days.

The contract seeks delivery of 299 vehicles within the total project funding of about $316 million Defence Minister Robert Hill said today, "I am encouraged by the result, it demonstrates that ADI has taken the opportunity given by Government last year by continuing to address the reliability issues of the vehicle." 

Assault Pioneer version>>>

Senator Hill said if ADI passed the second critical trial the Government could look forward to the introduction of an excellent vehicle for the ADF with prospects for sales overseas.


ADI-manufactured Bushmaster 4 x 4 vehicle (Source: ADI)

The Australian Army in March last year ordered 370 ADI-manufactured Bushmaster 4 x 4 vehicles to meet its operational requirement for an Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV). Pre-production vehicles were completed late last year and full production will run from 2001.

The Bushmaster IMV will transport troops and equipment over long distances; it is not a combat vehicle. To reduce life-cycle costs, the Bushmaster uses proven and in-production subsystems where possible.

A 7.62mm machine gun can be mounted on the roof and the baseline steel armour provides protection from small arms fire and mines. If required, a higher level of armour protection is available.

Standard equipment includes power steering, a central tyre-inflation system, a spare wheel, individual protected crew seats, a split air-conditioning system, a water-storage tank and a winch that can be used to the front or rear of the vehicle. Large calibre weapons can be fitted such as a 12.7mm machine gun or 40mm grenade launcher.

  • Specifications
    • Crew: 2 + 8
    • Configuration: 4 x 4
    • Armament: 1x7.62mm machine gun
    • Combat weight: 15,000kg
    • Power-to-weight ratio: 22hp/t
    • Power pack: Caterpillar 3126 ATAAC six-cylinder diesel developing 300hp coupled to a ZF 7HP500 fully automatic transmission
    • Length: 7.02m
    • Width: 2.50m
    • Height: 2.65m
    • Max speed: 120km/h
    • Range: 1,000km
    • Airportable: C-130 Hercules
  • Status
    • Entering production for Australian Army (352) and Air Force (18).
  • Variants
    • In addition to the troop carrier there are at least five other variants at the design stage: ambulance, command, mortar, direct-fire weapons and engineer/fault pioneer.
  • Manufacturer
    • ADI Ltd, Bendingo, Australia

Bush bash IMV passes final reliability test

By Cpl Damian Shovell  from ARMY The Soldiers Newspaper
(MPEG video 3.60 MB)

THE Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV) has passed final reliability testing, adding another layer to the hardening of the Army.

Defence Minister Robert Hill’s June 22, 2004 announcement that the IMV had passed its Production Reliability Acceptance Test (PRAT) heralds the introduction of 299 IMVs into service and a quantum leap in protected mobility.

The final acceptance test is expected to be completed late next month.

Designed and manufactured by ADI, the IMV is capable of accommodating a full infantry section with equipment, offers exceptional on/off road performance with speeds of up to 90km/h and ballistic protection from small arms and mine blast with its specially welded v-shaped monocoque hull and ballistically protected windows.

A Bushmaster makes mud its friend during reliability trials.
Photo by Cpl Damian Shovell, Army newspaper

Commandant CATC Col Peter Singh said the delivery of the Bushmaster would represent the culmination of 15 years of trial, research and development in production of a motorised capability for Army that will serve to bridge the capability gap that exists between armoured fighting vehicles and B-vehicle fleets.

“Bushmaster delivers a tremendous new capacity in hardening and networking Army as Motorised Combat Wing (MCW) receives the first 18 vehicles this year with 299 vehicles expected in-service by 2007,” he said.

The IMV fleet will consist of six variants including Troop, Command, Ambulance, Direct Fire Weapon, Mortar and Assault Pioneer, which will be employed from May 2005 within 7 Bde’s 25/49RQR and supporting units and to Air Force’s Air Field Defence Guard Quick Reaction Forces.

THE IMV will transport troops to the battlefield and is fitted with weapons stations designed to accommodate section light machine guns.

The successful completion of PRAT also paves the way for ADI to launch the Bushmaster IMV on the international market.

ADI’s managing director Lucio Di Bartolomeo said Bushmaster was the first armoured vehicle designed and produced in Australia since WW2.

Mr Di Bartolomeo said the Bushmaster had significant export potential, being well suited for a wide range of military
operations. It had already attracted overseas interest.

“The United Arab Emirates will begin evaluation of the vehicle in the next few months,” he said.

“Bushmaster was displayed in Paris this month at one of Europe’s major military equipment exhibitions, Eurosatory, and attracted considerable attention.”
Conducted by ADI and DSTO, PRAT included testing three IMVs for five months over 110,000km on all terrains to test against all production specifications including reliability, mileage and mean-time between critical failure on breakdown for the engine in operational type conditions.

DSTO then stripped and inspected the IMV for rates of malfunction and wear in equipment to confirm the vehicle met Army’s reliability acceptance mark.

OC MCW Capt John Papalitsas said PRAT was the largest hurdle for the vehicle before introduction. “At that point of the contract, the Army could have said ‘no, it’s not as reliable as we need it to be, therefore we won’t accept it’.

“It’s a very big milestone, as the vehicle has met all reliability specifications and has only one step left before full production of the fleet commences,” he said.

“This is the First Article Test that will be completed next month. “This is the ‘test till destruction’. It is a test of all elements of the vehicle specifications.

“There are about 650 specifications, included in that is the vehicle’s protective capabilities that were set for the project that will again be tested against mine blast and munitions. On successful completion of the final test, ADI will commence full production, which will be about two-and-a-half vehicles a week.”

Possible future Bushmaster with a mine detecting role.


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